The Adventure Continues…

From Paris we moved onto Brussels, Belgium. Another beautiful city and probably one of my favourites. The waffles!! Oh Em Gee! I think we honestly had one almost every day. We stayed in this beautiful little apartment right in the main square of town.

I do remember one day we had a big fight, I cant exactly remember what it was about, but I was probably being a stubborn bitch like always, I know I decided to walk off and explore on my own. With the map in hand off I went. I wanted to find this famous statue “Manneken Pis”. For the trip so far, he was the leader and I was the follower, its how it worked. But, today I was determined. Off I marched, probably about two meters in front of him most of the way. I was so angry (probably at him being angry at me) we were so lame sometimes. ha! ‘Following’ the map, I walked around for about 45 minutes, stopping along the way to look at the map thinking “where the ef is this statue?!” He asked if I needed help on a number of occasions, I politely declined and kept going.

We got to the top of this street and I couldn’t figure out how or why I hadn’t found this statue yet. Finally I decided to swallow my pride and ask him for help. He did, with no hesitation, and lead us straight to the statue… IT WAS THE SMALLEST THING I HAD EVER SEEN! It was surrounded by tourists, but I could not believe the size of it! I walked around for an hour for this. haha! We laughed together about it, and even more, it was literally behind the building we were staying in!! We decided that was the last time I took charge of following a map! I had a lot of making up to do that night. We enjoyed a beautiful dinner in a cute little alley and of course finished it off with some waffles covered in strawberries and chocolate.

From Belgium we moved onto Amsterdam. There was no question we’d visit this place. On arrival however, I was really sick with the flu and went to sleep straight away. He was amazing and went out and bought me lemons and honey and some medicine for my sore throat. I have to say, I was kind of nervous about this place, this is where we thought we’d want to work for a while and try out a working visa. I think the end result excited me, but what we had to do to obtain this visa was almost impossible (deep down I was thankful because I don’t think I wanted to live there) we decided it wasn’t worth it and that we’d just enjoy our time there which we did!

From Amsterdam, we decided we’d travel outside of the touristy destination and went to two more cities in Netherlands, Utrecht and Noordwijk. Noordwijk was awesome, a little coastal town where I was confident enough to hire a bike (It wasn’t as busy as Amsterdam with traffic) We rode for hours in a national park. I felt amazing, we were absolutely loving life, so carefree, so happy, so in love! This was my first hostel stay where we actually interacted with other guests. I don’t make friends that easily, where people flock to him, and he makes friends like theres no tomorrow. On our first night we attended a party they were having, I was packing shit, but I put a smile on my face and went for it and actually had fun. We were only there for a few days before moving to Utrecht which was a less busier and chaotic version of Amsterdam. Very beautiful. The shit I could say about this place (sorry, personal joke and he’d kill me if it got out)

He had been to Europe before for three months for a Uni exchange and had met a lot of people and became good friends with quite a few of them. We decided on Austria next to visit a friend, we booked our flights and off we went. We thought we’d give ourselves enough time to get to the airport via public transport, little did we know there would be absolute chaos! Train delay after train delay, not to mention we had to wear heaps of clothing so our bags weren’t over the limit.

We were so stressed!…

We made it.

After a whole day of travelling we had finally made it. We were in PARIS!! It felt so surreal. From the second we landed he took charge, he knew exactly what to do (well to me anyway, inside he was probably packing shit having no clue where to go or what to say) I felt so safe.

We made it to our hotel, and well, it was a shithole. The smallest room I had ever seen, and we had to share a bathroom with everyone else on the floor. Not to mention we had to lug our 20kg bags up five flights of stairs! As soon as we dumped our bags, I burst into tears and told him I wanted to go back home. He hugged me so tight and said everything will be ok, he promised.

I think I had just pictured everything so differently, which over time I have taught myself not to do. We slept for a bit then freshened up, got our things and went for a walk. I still remember so clearly the place that we stopped off at for our first beer in Paris. It was a tiny little pub on the corner, it was still quite cold and I couldn’t stop looking around I was kind of speechless, I still couldn’t believe I was here. We just sat in each others company, nothing had to be said. We people watched for hours on end. I WAS IN PARIS!!!

On May 25th was our 7 year anniversary and we got to spend it in PARIS. I woke up to breakfast in bed, of course that meant having a croissant or two, and he bought me flowers! It was magical. We decided to do a little more sight seeing, and at night we would go and see the Eiffel Tower. I couldn’t wait, I had my camera in hand ready to snap away.

On arrival, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was standing right under it. It was huge. We were being a little romantic, as you do when your in Paris, strolling around holding hands. This was one of my favourite days in Europe. Of course, the thought popped into my head, “imagine if he got down on one knee” quite excited! But what a cliche. Yuk! I didn’t want it to happen then and there.

I thought my life couldn’t get any better. I was happy. I was content. I was in a fairy tale. I loved him more than I ever knew how. I couldn’t wait to continue travelling, exploring, sight seeing. I felt like I let go of anything that was holding me back, and I wanted to make this the greatest experience of my life.

I think for me, I wanted this experience to not change my personality, but change my habits, my way of thinking, my state of mind. I wanted to open up about society and the different ways of life. I wanted to be able to accept people for who they are and what they believe in. Not that I didn’t before hand, but I reallllllly wanted to be more open minded. I thought it would also strengthen our relationship.

After all, were were travelling on our Seven Year Itch…

This Was It.

This was it. I was going to quit my job, pack my bag, leave my family and friends and get on a plane and TRAVEL.

We decided on Europe AND we only bought a one way ticket!!!

I think from the time we decided to do this, to the time we got on the plane I experienced every single emotion humanely possible. I had to wait a couple of weeks before I could resign from work, which was going to be one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I had been working there for over 6 years and become so confident in my job that I was afraid I would lose that confidence if/when I started a new job. (I know stupid right?! I was thinking waaaaay too far ahead) It wasn’t just that, but I had made so many friends there and to have to say goodbye was going to be hard for me.

I also explained to my parents what I wanted to do, preparing to see the disappointment on their faces and feel and instant rush of regret running through my body. I thought I’d go for more of the casual approach… “So he and I were thinking we’d go travelling for a while” “Go for it!!!” They said. I don’t want to say I was shocked because I think most parents out there would love to their kids to travel the world and experience life. My parents did it for three months. But I was definitely relieved and it meant to much to me that they were supporting this big decision.

With that now done, It was time to tell all of our friends and the rest of our extended families. Everyone was over the moon for us, and I mean everyone! Everyone at work was of course sad to see me go, but super excited for me to experience this new adventure.

As it started to approach I got more and more excited every day. I literally couldn’t wait to experience this, and with him by my side! There were little things that concerned me at first, but he always reassured me that everything was going to be ok. He understood what this meant to me, but I also understood what it meant to him and had to remember to try and not be so controlling about everything.

We knew we were flying to Paris and that was pretty much it, we booked a small hotel (I was a little too anxious to stay in a hostel with up to 8 other people straight away.) On our final days at home, we spent as much time with our own families as possible, we threw a big going away BBQ with all of our friends the week before we left and I soaked in every last second with all of my loved ones.

The day had arrived… WE WERE ON OUR WAY!! I didn’t know if I was sad, happy, anxious, excited!! I think it was all of those emotions rolled into one!

The airport was hard, saying goodbye to my mum, dad and two brothers, the tears started flowing (kinda tearing up now thinking about it) but I know they were so excited for me. We had our last hugs and off we went into the departures lounge.

Off we go…

Decision Making.

I was getting bored. Tired. Over it all. Over what all? Life, love, work, friends, family? I don’t know. I just felt like I needed something more, something else, something new. Ive never really questioned life so much before. One thing I loved about him was he made me question things, mostly always in a positive way. What is life about? To just work all the time? What about adventure? Passion? Journey?

I started to think about this more and more and as much as I was soo happy in my little bubble we call our comfort zone, I couldn’t help but wonder what else was out there, for us, for me.

He loved me a lot, I could tell. He only wanted me to experience the best life I possibly could. He was my biggest and number one supporter with any decisions I wanted to make. Always encouraging me to be the best person I could be. He was my person.

When I went to him and said “I want to quit my job and travel” I think I had to pick his jaw up off the ground and let him lay down for five minutes to get his head wrapped around it. I’d like to say it was me being spontaneous and that I just made the decision over night, but secretly I had been thinking about it for a while, I just didn’t want him to know cause I wanted to make the decision in my own time without him pushing or persuading me into it and I wanted to feel 100% about this massive life decision I was about to make.

I was really nervous to tell my parents, cause I felt like they had an expectation for me to continue working, buy a home and move out. Not that they ever said thats what I had to do and I guess thats where my brain is always in over drive. Always guessing what people are thinking and worrying myself sick about it.

One thing I have ALWAYS done to myself, is worry about what other people think about me. Whether its what I’m wearing that day, what I look like, what decisions I make. Pretty much anything! I was always second guessing myself asking what would this person think. Why? I don’t know, I do know that I hated it. I hated that I cared so much about what others were thinking. I hate conflict so if/when they did say something, I tended to agree just to keep the peace. Silly I know.

I always compared my relationship to my friends relationships. Always. Looking back, I realise how stupid that was. Just cause I always wasn’t where I wanted to be in mine. Out of our friends we were one of the first into a relationship and thought that meant we’d be the first for everything. Boy was I wrong! And stupid! But I started to appreciate my relationship and him more. He was fun, adventurous, loving, caring and an amazing person with the kindest soul and warmest heart. Why would I want to compare such a thing???

It was time to break the news…

Cruising Through

I was happy, I was cruising through life. I loved my job, my family, my friends and him. I wasn’t working towards any particular goal, because I never really had any in mind. Yes, eventually I wanted to get married, buy my forever home, have a family and ‘live happily ever after’. That is pretty much all I was working towards. I didn’t have anything planned for me.

I always loved photography, but just thought it’d be something I would do in my spare time, never took it that seriously. For one of my birthdays, I bought myself a really expensive DSLR and fell in love with it. Again, not thinking too much into, I would take it out every now and again and take some photos but that was about it.

I was happy to glide through life, and do everything that society expected me to do. I thought it was normal. I have since, never questioned this so much before in my life.

I really don’t want to harp on about the whole marriage thing cause I feel like people get sick of that, and believe me, my friends and family got sick of hearing me talk about it, but no one got sick of it more than he did. He didn’t really believe in it “Its just a big party” “why would I want to pay for all of these people to party and get drunk” “I would rather travel with the money” “Do you really need a piece of paper to justify our love”. Part of me agreed with him, but a massive part of me wanted what I had dreamed of for so long, after all we had been together since we were 17. Who doesn’t want to marry the guy they fell in love with at that age?

I started to force myself to stop talking about it as much as possible. I snuck in the little jokes and hints here and there “look at this dress” “I’d love to get married here” “I want to have kids before I turn 30” I always thought id be married by 25 or so and have my kids before I turned 30, thats what my parents did and thats what I thought was ‘normal’.

Over the years, I started to feel like I was in the wrong for wanting all those things, that what I wanted wasn’t fair on him. That it was so wrong to believe one day he’d turn around and get down on one knee. “Was I expecting too much?” So again, I just pushed all those ideas away and concentrated on what I knew – sticking to my comfort zone.

I think day to day I was as happy as I could have ever been, yes of course I would have those fights with him, my family and my friends, but that was all stuff we would work out and get over within a matter of days.

Just like my marriage questions, he also had questions “When are we going to travel together?” “Where are we going to go?” “How long are we going to go for?” So like his answers to marriage, I answered “I don’t want to travel” “I don’t want to spend money on something like that” “I want to buy a house first.” Almost like tit for tat and I hated it. I was so sour towards his travelling ideas. But deep down the thought of it was growing on me little by little every day.

This time I was really ready to take a massive step…

 

From the beginning

I always thought I had my life planned out. You know… finish school, get a job, get a boyfriend, get married, have a family and live happily ever after in suburbia. Well… I got the boyfriend, finished school and found a great job. I thought that everything was going according to ‘my plan’.

Back in school, I’d like to think I was in one of the “popular groups” of girls but I was never the popular girl. I had a lot of friends and I honestly thought I knew who I was and what I wanted in life. I glided through high school with no real problems that I had to face.

In the middle of year 12, I had finally met someone and he was showing interest in me just as much as I was in him. This had never happened to me before. After all, it was ME! I wasn’t the prettiest, skinniest, funniest or smartest. I honestly never imagined that someone would want to show any interest in me. I couldn’t believe that someone thought I was pretty enough to want to go out with. I was in another world when we were together. We found out that we lived that close to each other that we would meet up after school and hang out at our local parks or go for walks. I was falling in LOVE!!! We had met at the Easter Show through a few mutual friends and the rest is pretty much history. For the next (almost) 10 years my life was running on track with some small hiccups along the way, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

I got a job straight out of high school in a major finance institution and figured this is where I’d be for the rest of my life. I was comfortable. He was studying Law and we were happy. I think now that I look back I always mistook the feeling of happiness for the feeling of being content. I didn’t like change and hated stepping out of my comfort zone. Again, pushing these feelings of uncertainty away and telling myself I was OK and this is the way things were supposed to be.

For nearly seven years I worked in an office, doing the same thing every day. Slowly climbing the corporate ladder with a few promotions in my pocket. I was a really hard worker and actually enjoyed my job.  He, on the other hand, couldn’t sit still. I started to take note that maybe my life wouldn’t turn out the way I always thought it would. There were cracks that were starting to show, but I quickly started to cover them up with love and encouragement and “If your happy I’m happy” comments. I began to push my concerns out of the way.  He loved to travel, and did so many times, sometimes for up to three to four months at a time. There were many Christmas’ and New Years spent without him, which hurt more than I led on. But I kept the smile on my face and pretended I was OK, but deep down I was in pain. I would have done anything to share that New Years Kiss.

Fast forward a few years and many trips overseas later, I began to wonder when I would become “Mrs” and when he would put as much passion into our future as he did his travels and vision for his life. Again, over time, I saw these cracks start to rear their ugly faces but I moved in quickly to seal them up and pretend they didn’t exist.

I continued on with my career and took on every day as I did the last, with ease, in my comfort zone not stepping out of it for anyone. Thinking I was living a ‘normal’ life, soon to find out there was no such thing as normal.

Looking back, and having this explained to me by a few close friends recently, I always thought that I was putting his happiness first because I loved him. It wasn’t because I loved him which I did more than words could explain, It was because I didn’t love myself enough.

Was it time for a change and time for me to step out of my comfort zone?

 

Come With Me.

Come with me on this journey. Well, I’m kind of half way through it, but I decided what I have already been through could relate to a lot of you out there and there are only so many of my friends that I can talk to this about time and time again before they start to get sick of hearing it… Plus I think that time has kind of come and gone, but I feel I still have a lot of expressing to do.

My goal isn’t to tell you how you should feel or act in these life changing situations, but how felt going though them over the past 12 months. Its been hell, let me tell you, but I am finally ready to start searching for the light at the end of the tunnel. Its been long, dark and lonely and I finally decided to get up and do something about it.

Dont worry, I have my days just like everyone else, where I want to sleep all day, eat everything in sight, cry at the drop of a hat and be angry at anyone and everyone for no good reason. But each day, we have to get back up and do it all again… hopefully this time, with a smile on your face and hope in your heart and a belief that something wonderful is about to happen.

First however, I want to take you back to where it all began…